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This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.
For the true explorer, expedition small-ship cruising is the best way to get off the beaten track.This experience is not just about the ship’s creature comforts but very much the destination, its nature and wildlife. Daily shore excursions by Zodiac inflatable boats allow you to step onshore and explore. A world-class, expert expedition team will help you discover each exciting destination. Onboard you’ll enjoy informative and educational lectures. These trips will be a mix of fully guided or self-guided depending on your chosen package. There’s a land touring component with shared sightseeing and transfers.
✓ Travel with Hurtigruten
✓ Discover idyllic seaside towns, fishing villages, stunning island archipelagos and fjords on a summer expedition cruise of coastal hideaways in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway
✓ Rugged nature, active adventure
✓ Norway’s islands and fjords
Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.
All aboard at Dover! MS Maud is here, ready and waiting to take you on a summertime exploration of southern Scandinavia.
If you have time, take a walk alongside or atop the iconic white cliffs of Dover that have become a patriotic symbol for England. One of the best places to do so is at St Margaret’s Bay, which offers great views of the chalky coastline from its wide shingle beach.
Once on board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, explore the ship and attend a mandatory safety drill. After the first of many delicious dinners and a welcome toast by the Captain, you’ll meet your expert Expedition Team.
They are your knowledgeable lecturers, warm hosts, and good-natured guides throughout your journey, but first and foremost, they are there to keep you safe and well. They’ll be making it a priority to run through important health and safety aspects with you and your fellow guests.
When the ship sets sail, we’ll pass the white cliffs of Dover and head up to the North Sea. Stretch your sea legs and get to know MS Maud, your cosy home away from home. If the weather holds, take in the salubrious sea air from out on deck.
Or park yourself in the Explorer Lounge and Bar to watch the world go by from the panoramic windows, maybe together with a relaxing glass of wine. Your adventure to the German coast and southern Scandinavia is officially underway!
Enjoy a day at sea as we head towards the German coast. You’ll have plenty of time to decompress from daily life, relax and really get into the mood for this summertime expedition cruise.
Perhaps brush up on Scandinavian life philosophies like Danish hygge “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people”; Swedish lagom “not too little, not too much – just right”; and Norwegian friluftsliv “embracing nature and an active, outdoors lifestyle”.
Admire the views from MS Maud’s expansive Observation Deck, settle into a good book together with a freshly baked pastry from the Fredheim restaurant, or take full advantage of the gym and hot tubs.You’ll also be invited to talks hosted by the Expedition Team who will happily share their extensive knowledge of southern Scandinavia with you. Topics change each day and will be relevant to the area you’re sailing in. These added insights will enhance your experience, filling out your sense of discovery with delicious detail. Our professional onboard photographer will also be available to give top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos.
Your first port of call is known as the ‘Martha’s Vineyard’ of Germany, a picture-perfect seaside bolthole that attracts a glamorous crowd seeking sanctuary and solitude. Welcome to Sylt, the most famous of the North Frisian Islands and Germany’s northernmost point. Here, against the sounds of lapping waves, you’ll find 25 miles of pristine, fine sand beaches lined with sand dunes and flowering heathlands.
We anchor at List, which sits at the northern tip of Sylt, and oozes wild rustic charm. Take in the invigorating sea air as you leisurely explore the town and its beautiful beaches on foot. You’ll be won over by its pretty harbour, thatched cottages, and candy-striped lighthouses. Hire a bike if you’re feeling active or rent one of the distinctive Strandkorb beach chairs if you’d rather relax.
Sample the island’s culinary speciality – Sylter Royal oysters – which are farmed locally at Germany’s only commercial oyster farm. Or you can enjoy lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants along the promenade. Local specialities include mussels, North Sea prawns, and matjes, pickled herring.
If you’re science-minded, you’ll enjoy a visit to the local ecological museum, powered by renewable energy, and dedicated to the North Sea. See fascinating displays and multimedia exhibits on the local climate, weather and natural phenomena, such as Germany’s largest shifting sand dune. You can see this sand dune for yourself along the more sheltered East coast of the island.
At low tide, you can take a walk along the mud flats that lie out towards the UNESCO-listed Wadden Sea. With its crashing waves and strong winds, the West coast is a popular destination for windsurfers. To the north of List is Ellenbogen nature reserve. This exposed, windswept, elbow-shaped peninsula is stunning: miles of unspoilt coastal landscapes, tranquillity and natural charm.
You might be surprised to discover that the accolade of the world’s busiest man-made waterway does not belong to the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal, but to the Kiel Canal, also known as the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal. Today, we transit the picturesque 61-mile passage from Brunsbüttel in the North Sea through Schleswig-Holstein to Holtenau in the Baltic Sea. The canal allows ships to bypass Denmark’s stormy Jutland Peninsula and takes around 226 miles off the journey.
Built in 1887, inaugurated in 1895 and widened in 1907, this freshwater canal, originally called Kaiser Wilhelm I Canal, took 9,000 workers eight years to build. Today, it is 160 metres wide and 11 metres deep, and is crossed by seven high bridges that allow a 43-metre clearance. You’ll go under the Rendsburg High Bridge, a railway viaduct with an unusual 360° loop that allows trains to access Rendsburg Station.
Relax and enjoy a scenic passage through the canal. Head out on deck as you pass lush countryside, quaint villages and magnificent landscapes en route. You’ll see daily life along the canal; grazing cattle, anglers patiently fishing, dog walkers and cyclists along the canal path, and of course, many ships and recreational boats.
You can watch from deck as we traverse the impressive locks or schleusen at Holtenau, before sailing the final ten miles along the Kiel Fjord to Kiel. We’ll have a short technical stop in Kiel, allowing you enough time to stretch your legs and visit the maritime city. If you’re sailing in the last week of June, you’ll catch Kiel Week, the world’s largest sailing regatta with 4,000 ships usually in attendance.
When you see the distinctive yellow houses with red roofs, you’ve arrived in Skagen, one of Denmark’s most popular destinations. This vibrant beach town is located at the top of Jutland, where the Baltic Sea meets the North Sea. During the summer months, the captivating light, wonderful nature and beautiful white sandy beaches are a big draw.
Discover the lively town centre with its bustling marina, museums, galleries and boutiques, or head out of town along the walking trails to explore wild nature and beautiful coastal scenery. If you prefer, relax at the beach and go for a refreshing swim in the sea.
You can visit Skagen Museum to see the works of the Skagen Painters including Krøyer, Ancher and Tuxen. In 1859, inspired by the nature, Hans Christian Andersen encouraged artists to join him in Skagen. As word spread, painters, musicians, writers and poets descended on the town. This artists’ collective, known as Skagen Painters, became hugely influential in Danish cultural history.
Three miles north of Skagen is Grenen. Here, you’ll experience the rugged environment of Denmark’s northernmost point, where the Skagerrak and the Kattegat Seas meet. If you look closely, you can see the waves of the two seas clash. Wander among sand dunes on foot or take the Sandormen, a tractor-driven wagon tour. The area is also popular with birders.
You might want to visit the Sand-Covered Church. What appears to be a small 14th century chapel turns out to be the tower of Sankt Laurentii, once the largest church in northern Jutland. Sand migration buried the church, leaving only the tower visible. Further south is Råberg Mile, the closest thing Denmark has to a desert. Hike to the top of this 40-metre high, two-square-kilometre migrating sand dune for great views.
Over the next two days, we’ll explore the stunning archipelago of Bohuslän, that stretches along Sweden’s beautiful west coast from Gothenburg. You’ll want to be out on deck as we cruise along the channel past picturesque fishing villages set in glorious nature, enchanting islands, up to Kosterhavet National Park.
The Koster Islands – North Koster and South Koster – sit in the centre of Kosterhavet Marine National Park. On North Koster, you can take in the rugged, dramatic and austere landscapes on foot, and see the rubble-stone fields at Valnäs. From Högen, the highest point on the island marked by two lighthouses, you’ll be treated to magnificent views of the whole archipelago.
You’ll be charmed by coastal meadows, ancient forests, sandy beaches and secluded bays on South Koster, where you can explore easily on foot or by bike. From the local church, you can climb up to the impressive viewpoint at the top of Valfjäll. Learn about the local history and fishing heritage of the islands at the museum on Långegärde Pier.
As the islands are mostly car-free, it’s ideal for walkers, with marked paths and trails to suit all fitness levels, and opportunities to take detours along the way. Don’t forget to bring your swimwear as there are plenty of great bathing spots. A cable ferry connects the islands so you’ll have the chance to explore both islands.
This area is dotted with skerries and rocky isles, and if conditions allow, we’ll make the most of it by kayak and expedition boat cruising. Where possible, snorkelling offers a superb way to explore Kosterhavet’s underwater marine life. You might see crabs, shoals of mackerel and rare seaweeds.
After an active day of exploring, you’ll return to MS Maud ready for a delicious meal and a good night’s sleep.
At the furthest reaches of Bohuslän, you’ll find Väderöarna. Made up of hundreds of islands and islets that are part of the Tanum archipelago, the aptly named Weather Islands have one of Sweden’s windiest and warmest climates.
Long considered uninhabitable due to its harsh environment, only the hardiest of coast pilots and their families set up homes here between the 1700s and 1960s. Today, very little has changed; you’ll find one sole inhabited island, with a small inn hosting its guests and employees in cosy looking cabins perched on the rocks.
Say goodbye to stress as you relax with just the sound of birdsong and waves lapping against the rocks to keep you company. Among the lush green scenery and craggy islands, you’ll find one of Bohuslän's largest seal colonies, together with numerous sea birds.
Join the Expedition Team as we spend the day exploring this nature lover's paradise on foot, by kayak or by expedition boat cruising. You can enjoy long walks along the nature trails exploring nooks and crannies, discover the meteorological station and old coast pilot marina, or maybe swim in the crystal clear, blue waters. If weather conditions allow, you might paddle your kayak between the islands to incredible natural harbours.
We sail past seal colonies and skerries, ready for a full day of exploration. Today, you’ll explore some of Sweden’s oldest and most scenic fishing villages and ports, that developed during the heyday of the herring fishing era in the 18th century. Later, many of them became seaside resorts, catering to wealthy Swedes.
We begin with a quick stop in Käringön, with its red fishing huts and pontoons jutting into the sea. In the summer, the pier and guest harbour are always a hive of activity. Should conditions allow, you’ll have the chance to join the optional expedition boat cruising excursions to Grundsund.
You’ll fall in love with this coastal fishing village on the island of Skaftö, which has retained all of its original charm. Though larger than Käringön, Grundsund has fewer than 700 inhabitants. Dotting the rocky shoreline, dock and canal, you’ll see traditional boathouses and pretty cottages side by side along the water’s edge. A beautiful harbour canal divides this well-preserved village, with small boats moored along the jetty. It’s a delight to explore, especially in the summer months.
Or you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the newly-built wooden promenade, stretching along the waterfront to Skäddhålan, and along a footpath that follows the rugged coastline towards Vigerna. Grundsund is also ideal for kayaking and expedition boat cruising.
After lunch, we continue our scenic voyage along Sweden’s coastline and head to colourful Smögen to enjoy the evening. You’ll encounter a change of pace here as the lively town attracts a younger crowd.
Climb the steep steps and explore the maze of beautifully restored cottages with well-tended gardens. Down at the harbour, you’ll see local fishing boats unloading their daily catch. Famous for its seafood, Smögen is an ideal place for you to enjoy some fresh prawns, lobster or fish along Smögenbryggan, the buzzing waterside promenade.
Awarded European Green Capital in 2019, Norway’s capital is a fjord-side city surrounded by forested hills and lakes. Head to Ekeberg Park for fantastic views over Oslo and its wonderful collection of international art and sculptures. The impressive granite and bronze edifices in Vigeland Sculpture Park are also worth a visit. Take a stroll in the botanical garden or enjoy a woodland hike in Nordmarka, close to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump.
Oslo's compact size makes it ideal for discovering on foot. The medieval Akershus Fortress dominates the harbourfront, while a stroll through the charming city centre will take you to the City Hall, Royal Palace, Parliament Building and Oslo Cathedral. The new National Museum opens in Oslo in 2022, providing a modern architectural contrast to the more classical buildings.
When you need to rest, you’ll find plenty of options for enjoying traditional Norwegian dishes or New Nordic cuisine. Choose from cosy cafés, hip coffee shops, modern fine dining, hot dog stands and the many microbreweries.
With no shortage of cultural experiences, you can spend the day visiting some of Oslo’s many excellent museums and contemporary art galleries. Or visit the home of one of Oslo’s most celebrated cultural icons, Henrik Ibsen? Head to the museum district in the Bygdøy peninsula, where you can discover the open-air Folk Museum, Fram Museum and the Viking Ship Museum.
See the incredible modern architecture east of the harbour, in the Bjørvika neighbourhood. You’ll be wowed by the angular, white marble and glass Opera House, resembling a glacier emerging from the sea. Walk along its rooftop for panoramic views of the city. Look up and you’ll see the new Munch Museum, towering 60 metres high. Across the bridge at Sørenga, you can enjoy urban beachlife, relax in a floating sauna, and even go kayaking.
Today, we visit the beautiful coastal town of Kragerø, set in the idyllic surroundings of one of Norway’s most scenic archipelagos. The town looks out over 495 islets and reefs, each with their own special character. During the summer, this elegant resort bustles with activity as visitors come to relax on the beaches, explore the rich animal and birdlife of the archipelago, or watch live music concerts.Amble through Kragerø’s charming narrow lanes and browse the boutiques and eateries. You can stop in at the Gothic church, and learn about local history at the Berg-Kragerø Museum and the Mining Museum. Or venture further afield for walks along the coastal path or the many nature trails.
Kragerø has inspired many artists, drawn to its incredible light and scenery. Edvard Munch, who described the island as ‘the pearl of the coastal towns’, spent six years here, producing famous works like ‘The Sun’ and ‘History’. You can enjoy a Munch walk, visit the Kittelsen House Museum, the childhood home of this famous artist, or peruse local galleries and ateliers.
With so many islands, reefs and sheltered coves to explore, the area is ideal for active pursuits like swimming, water sports and scenic boat trips. There might also be opportunities to go on an island-hopping bike tour.Kragerø is also perfectly situated to spend the day exploring the Telemark Canal, one of the most beautiful waterways in the world. The canal is 65 miles long, carved into rock and consists of eight lock systems. Today, much of the canal seems preserved in time. Most locks still require manual operation, and you can see old lock-keepers’ houses, sawmills and watchmen’s cottages as you sail along the waterway.
Spend the day exploring the area or join us on one of our exciting excursions with the Expedition Team.
We’ve now reached the southern coast of Norway, and will spend the day exploring Farsund on the Lista peninsula, which has a fascinating history and some of the best beaches in the area, popular for surfing, kiting and birdwatching.
When you arrive, look out for Farsund’s Marina Watchman, dressed in traditional costume to welcome boats and visitors. In Farsund, you can take in the wonderful scenery on a long beach walk or enjoy an outdoor sauna followed by a brisk dip in the sea.
Nordberg Fort, one of the few coastal forts built by the Germans during the Second World War, is well worth a visit. Aside from the battlements, outposts and trenches, you’ll get a great view over the Lista coastline, and you can learn more about its history at the Lista Museum.
You may notice an unusual fascination with Americana in Farsund, and especially in Vanse, from American cars, flags, diners, and even a road called Route 8. This stems from a wave of emigration from the area to the USA in the mid-20th century that has created close ties to America. This bond is celebrated at the end of June at the annual American Festival, with a programme of fun events.
While spring and autumn offer the best spotting of migratory birds in the area, the combination of sandy beaches, grassy dunes, fertile soil and wetland areas around Farsund and Lista create an attractive habitat for many birds year-round so keep a look out.
Outside of Farsund, Lista Lighthouse is a popular attraction. You can climb the 132 steps to the top of this operational lighthouse for fantastic views over the peninsula. Next to it, you’ll find an art gallery, an information centre and a café, as well as a bird hide, for those who might want to do some spotting.
Our journey continues through Norway’s spectacular fjordal landscapes. Rosendal sits snugly between high mountains and beautiful valleys on the Hardangerfjord, Norway’s second largest fjord. As we sail along the fjord, you might notice the pretty apple orchards along the hillsides. The region is famous for its apple products, from jams and juice to its award-winning cider.
You’ll spend the day hiking in the surrounding mountains, visiting Rosendal Manor and its magnificent gardens, or perhaps kayaking with the Expedition Team as optional excursions. The area offers historic villages and magnificent glacial features, such as the Bondhus Lake and Folgefonna Glacier. You can learn about the local history and the fjords.
Rosendal is a small, picturesque village in the heart of Hardangerfjord, surrounded by a glacier, mountains and waterfalls. It’s simply idyllic. You can enjoy some delicious local delicacies at one of the cafés and take in the breathtaking scenery. Interestingly, this is where Roald Amundsen’s ship “Gjøa”, that took him on his historic expedition through the Northwest Passage, was built.
Rosendal’s most notable attraction is its 17th century Baronial manor, famous for its beautiful rose garden and landscaped grounds. It’s possible to take a guided tour of the Manor House, where you’ll see the interiors kept exactly the same as when the owners left in 1927, and the library has been completely preserved since the 17th century.
Its gardens alone are stunning. Walk around and experience 300 years of horticultural history. There’s the Renaissance rose garden, romantic landscaped grounds, and a more recent kitchen and herb garden, featuring seasonal produce. In June, colourful rhododendron and azalea abound and by July, the roses will be in full bloom.
From the gardens, you can take a stroll to a path that takes you around the Hatteberg Waterfall. During the summer, you can enjoy a rich cultural programme of classical concerts, art exhibitions, talks and even theatre at the manor.
Our final day of exploration takes us to Lysefjord where we’ll finish our expedition on a high. We sail as deep as possible into imposing Lysefjord towards the iconic viewpoint at Preikestolen. Lysefjord is 40 kilometres long, up to 422 metres deep and boasts some of the most striking vertical cliffs of all the Norwegian fjords.
Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Norway and the popular subject of many social media posts. As we approach Preikestolen, we hope to be treated to a fine view of this incredible rock formation from below. We might also see the equally renown Kjæragbolten where a giant boulder seems precariously wedged in a mountain crevasse.
You’ll have an optional excursion to do the five-hour guided hike to the Preikestolen viewpoint 604 metres above Lysefjord. If you’ve remained on the ship, you can spend time out on deck drinking in the magnificent scenery, looking up at the majestic mountains towering above you. After a scenic cruise of the fjord and collecting our tired but exhilarated hikers, we set sail for Dover, leaving the fjords, islands, and stunning Scandinavia behind.
It’s our final day at sea and the last full day of this memorable expedition cruise. As we cross the North Sea, you may spot seabirds and dolphins that like to follow the ship.
Relive your wonderful experiences of southern Scandinavia as you compare the highlights of each country’s coastal gems, share stories with fellow guests over drinks in the Explorer Bar, soak up the fresh sea air in the comfort of the hot tub or out on deck.
Fill in any knowledge gaps in the Science Center as you chat with Expedition Team members. You might also like to join their expedition review with a slideshow of all the highlights.
We’ll sail past the white cliffs of Dover and into the English Channel during the early hours of the morning and finally dock at the city’s harbour. After breakfast, it’ll be time to say a fond farewell to everyone on MS Maud who have made your expedition so special.
As you head ashore, you’ll take with you fantastic lifetime memories of summer in Scandinavia; idyllic islands and archipelagos, picture-perfect fishing villages, wonderful fjords, impressive nature, and of course, all the friendly people you’ve met along the way.
Dover acts as the gateway to English countryside, the verdant counties of Kent and Surrey, and beyond to the melting pot of London. But before you rush off, you might to like to visit Dover Castle, tipped to be the largest in England.
There is a rare Roman lighthouse here, one of only three in the world and reputedly the UK’s oldest building. You can also go on a tour of the underground hospital and secret WWII tunnels that run beneath the castle complex.
However, you decide to round off your expedition, we hope you’ll join us for new adventures soon.
Cabin Bedding and Upgrades
Bedding on board the cruise is restricted to the following configurations. If you wish to upgrade your cabin, the following amounts are payable in addition to the package price prior to travel:
Polar Outside (L2): INCLUDED
Our Polar Outside cabins are mostly situated on the middle or lower decks and have a bathroom with a shower. These cabins also have a queen bed or separate beds. Each Polar Outside cabin has its own unique specifications.
Polar Outside (N2)
These standard outside cabins for two people on the middle decks have separate beds and private bathrooms. Upgrades from AU$979 per person, twin share or AU$1,160 per person, single (subject to availability).
Arctic Superior (P2)
Relaxation and comfort are hallmarks of the Arctic Superior cabins. Situated on both the upper and middle decks, the cabins all have a bathroom with a shower. Most have a queen bed, while some have separate beds. Each Arctic Superior cabin has its own unique specifications. Upgrades from AU$1,382 per person, twin share or AU$2,110 per person, single (subject to availability).
Expedition Suite (MG)
Our Expedition Suites are the most luxurious cabins on the ship. Situated on the upper decks of the ship, these cabins feature seating areas with a TV, a bathroom with a shower, and a queen bed. Each Expedition Suite has its own unique specifications. Upgrades from AU$12,160 per person, twin share or AU$31,024 per person, single (subject to availability).
Please request your cabin upgrade in the 'special requests' field. Availability and price will then be confirmed and added to your invoice upon acceptance.
MS Maud, previously MS Midnatsol, is named after one of the most famous polar vessels of all time, Roald Amundsens “Maud” from 1917. The original “Maud” got her name from the first Queen of modern-day Norway. She also had her namesake in Hurtigruten’s 1925 flagship DS Dronning Maud (“DS Queen Maud”).
To know more about your ship, please click HERE.
Deposit & Payments
Booking On Request
Due to COVID there maybe disruptions to standard operating schedules of particular components of this itinerary. Should a component be effected a substitute will be confirmed prior to departure.
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity.
These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers. As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only and subject to availability. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however any changes are beyond our control.
Please follow the 'book now' prompts and select 1 passenger to view the single supplement cost.
Travel insurance is required to protect yourself against the unexpected.
Final documentation including, e-tickets and cruise details, will be provided approximately 30 days prior to travel.
Children must share a room with parents at all times and are charged the same price as adults.
For all international voyages, it is the traveller's responsibility to ensure that they have a valid passport and they meet the visa requirement. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return.